From Thin to Fat, to Pregnant, and Back…
My Story as a Curvy Momma!

In high school, I was a fit, athletic, team sports kinda gal. Then during CEGEP and college, school got in the way of team sports. As I got older, my hormones changed and I wasn’t playing sports anymore, so I gained weight (and a lot of it).

Between the ages of 16 and 19, I gained 30 pounds. I went from flat chested, with hip bones that stuck out, to… let’s just call it curvy. I had lost direction, still not knowing what I wanted to be when I “grew up”.  Finally, when I was 19 years old, I took back control of my life. Well, at least momentarily.  It was simple for me to lose weight at that age. I went for a walk every day after dinner, hit the gym once or twice a week and just stopped eating crap. Boom! 30 pounds gone!

Looking back, I wish I was as fat now as I felt I was when I was 19!

I successfully kept the weight off, and actually got really fit for about 5 years. Then came along the man of my dreams, and a career shift. My then boyfriend (now husband) wined and dined me. Nice dinners out, with wine and dessert, which was quite the diet change from my egg-white and spinach omelets (that I ate over the sink). At the same time I was pushed into a new job, where I just sat there doing nothing every day! Mildly depressed and with my newly adopted diet, I gained back the 30 pounds and another 20 pounds on top.  By the time I hit 25 (within one year) I was at my heaviest, weighing in at 190 pounds.

Next thing I knew it was time to “put a ring on it”. The unbelievable amount of pressure to lose the weight for our weddings should be considered an eating disorder in itself. Once I felt confident enough to go wedding dress shopping (down 20 pounds) and cutting it close on having enough time to order a dress, we made an appointment. In an effort to avoid the mayhem in the wedding dress shopping district, we made an appointment at a little shop close to home.

With all my best friends living across Canada it was just me and my momma going wedding dress shopping. My mom was amazing. She offered to pay for the dress and was ready to make me feel like a princess. I had the ideal dress style in mind. Thanks to my weight gain I had a lovely chest to show off, and I wanted to embrace the curves of my hips. Mermaid style it is! However, when I got to the wedding dress boutique I could not fit into a single mermaid sample dress… commence meltdown mode. While I locked myself in the changing room, crying, the bridal consultant reached out to the shop’s owner to help me get a grip on reality. In the end, we found a beautiful gown. I had my choice between a beautiful clean-cut white gown, and an ivory blinged out dress. If you’re going to spend that much money on something you’re going to wear once, I believe my answer was “then it better make noise when you walk”. The bling dress it was.

Side note: On my mother’s request to not “wreck the dress” in South Africa on our anniversary photo shoot, I donated my dress. While speaking with the team from The Bride’s Project, I volunteered to be the Montreal drop-off point for wedding dress donations! So, if you have your wedding dress (less than 3 years old) collecting dust, consider donating it! All proceeds are donated to a Cancer related charity. Read more at www.thebridesproject.com.

A year after getting married we bought a house! Here I was, a curvy bride with a house… I guess it was time to “put a bun in the oven”. My dear Bunny… Charlie. I was so terribly sick in my first and second trimester that I couldn’t keep on the weight! Finally, at the start of my third trimester the morning (ALWAYS) sickness subsided. With Christmas break at work and an early February due date, I chose to start my maternity leave early. HUGE MISTAKE. It was Christmas, which meant goodies, snack food, and leftovers. Even worse, Netflix had released Friends, all ten seasons, on January 1st! This momma-to-be sat her curvy butt on the sofa and binge-watched Friends while packing on the pounds.

Along came baby. After being induced, and a very traumatic 42 hours later, the love of my life was in my arms.

Awesome! I am going to breast feed my baby (because breast is best, right?) and the pounds are going to fall right off! Well, here is something people neglect to tell mothers-to-be: NOT EVERYONE IS ABLE TO BREASTFEED! Regardless of how hard you try! With the shame placed upon me from the CLSC nurses and the disappointment in myself, mixed with memories of traumatic labour, I started into a downward spiral. I cried every day for over 6 months. Some days I couldn’t even get out of bed, or hold my precious baby, because (in my mind) I had failed him, my husband and myself.

Finally, I had no choice but to pick up the pieces and get my curvy ass to the gym or go on PPD meds. It wasn’t easy. The first two months at the gym, half the time I broke down and had to excuse myself from the class. The other half of the time I made it through the class and cried in the car afterwards. My hormones were such a wreck that I was having regular panic attacks. Month 3 at the gym got better, as did every month after that.

Time to go back to work. Well kind of. I knew once I got pregnant that the likelihood of me going back to my old job was slim to none. After 5 years in a job I LOVED, I was in need of a new challenge. Off to the hotel industry I went, for a brief 6 months. OMG, did I love my team!!! However, the job wasn’t a good fit.

So where am I now?
When I turned 32 I thought “What a strange age!!!  You’re not 30. You’re not mid 30’s. You’re an adult, but still feel young (because you are!).” Therefore, I have declared the age of 32 (this year) the year of me!

At the end of the day, our past makes us who we are. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s sad and sometimes it just downright heartbreaking. We have to teach ourselves to use our past as a guide for the future.

I am going to be the best me I can be! After struggling with issues of not wanting to ditch my husband and son to be “selfish” and hit the gym, I’ve come to realize that if I don’t work out, I cannot keep my weight under control. I have to make myself a priority.

I started my own company. I’m getting back to my passion of design and creating. www.damandaweb.com

I’ve taken my two-year-old ice-skating, skiing, swimming… you name it. I let him play with real Lego (under a watchful eye), and make him pumpkin pancakes. I’m going to be the best momma-bear I can be. I want to teach my son to enjoy life to its fullest, and be healthy and active. I’m pretty sure I am doing a good job, because his favourite movie is Ferris Bueller. Maybe at 24 months he’s already learned that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

P.S. Life is short! Eat the cake 😉